Cornell University

Language Resource Center Speaker Series - Karen Lichtman

Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 4:30pm to 5:30pm

Stimson Hall, G25
204 East Ave., Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

"Acquisition vs. Learning in 2020"
Karen Lichtman
Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics and Director of Educator Licensure in the Department of World Languages & Cultures, Northern Illinois University 

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Stephen Krashen put forward a model of language learning distinguishing between language acquisition (acquiring a language by listening or reading and understanding) and language learning (conscious, effortful study and practice of language). Today, many people look at Krashen’s monitor model as just a “method from the past.” However, most of these ideas are still very much present in contemporary research — just under different names, such as implicit vs. explicit language teaching and learning.  

This talk will share three of my studies using the acquisition/learning, or implicit/explicit, framework: one on elementary students learning Spanish, another with children and adults who were taught an artificial mini-language in the laboratory, and finally, a study currently in progress comparing two different teaching methods in beginning classes. Each study has different implications for teaching: (1) grammar instruction can be delayed to the end of years of input-based language study, (2) grammar instruction may have a negative effect on learners’ speaking fluency, and (3) a “narrow and deep” curriculum using high-frequency structures in context could be more effective than a traditional grammar-based curriculum... but since this last study is still in progress, attend the talk to find out if this is really the case!    

Bio: Dr. Lichtman is Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics and Director of Educator Licensure in the Department of World Languages & Cultures at Northern Illinois University. Her research focuses on instructed second language acquisition. Specifically, she studies implicit and explicit language learning in children and adults, questioning the conventional wisdom that children learn languages implicitly whereas adults need explicit grammar instruction. She recently wrote Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS): An Input-Based Approach to Second Language Instruction. Dr. Lichtman teaches methods courses for pre-service teachers and upper-level Spanish Linguistics courses.

Join us live on Zoom: https://cornell.zoom.us/j/721802314

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